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PD interview with U.S.Vice President Joseph R. Biden (2)

By Wen Xian (People's Daily)

10:18, August 19, 2011

Wen: At the first China-U.S. Governors Forum held in Salt Lake City in July, Chinese provincial leaders and U.S. governors discussed trade, investment, energy, environment cooperation at local levels. Some Chinese officials expressed their concerns over the deep- rooted hostility from some US conservative forces and interest groups toward investment from China, while others mentioned the long-established restrictions on high-tech exports to China. How would you respond to these concerns?

Biden: All I can say is that we welcome – and encourage – Chinese companies investing overseas to look first at the United States. As the preeminent destination for inward foreign direct investment we believe that international investors in the United States can benefit from the many opportunities available in the world’s largest economy. And we’re pleased that investors around the world agree – increasingly including entrepreneurs and businesses from China. Foreign investors benefit from our open, transparent, and nondiscriminatory investment climate. In the United States, foreign investors find free transferability of capital and profits, advanced physical and financial infrastructure, and nondiscriminatory legal recourse in the event of an investment- related dispute.

On export controls, President Obama and I are engaged in a reform effort to update our export control system for the 21st century, with the goal of strengthening competitiveness and increasing U.S. exports, while maintaining robust controls where appropriate to enhance our national security. Implementation of these reforms is already underway, and China, along with many other countries, will benefit. But let’s keep this issue in perspective: less than one percent of U.S. trade with China required an export license last year. I believe we should focus on the many other productive ways we can work together to expand trade and achieve a more balanced economic relationship.

Wen: Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said that the overall development of China-U.S. ties has kept a good momentum since Chinese President Hu Jintao made a successful visit to the United States in January this year. China is willing to work with the U.S. side to implement the consensus reached by the heads of state of the two countries - strengthening dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, properly handling sensitive issues, and constantly advancing the China-U.S. strategic partnership. As you know, there are still some disagreements or concerns between our two countries on some sensitive issues, including the issue of China South Sea. How would the Obama Administration address these differences and concerns so as to ensure that this bilateral relationship remains on the right track?

Biden: Our Administration has worked to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China through extensive engagement that has included reciprocal state visits by Presidents Obama and Hu, the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and numerous other meetings at all levels of government. In fact, President Obama and President Hu have met face-to-face nine times, and spoken on the phone many times. In order to keep our relationship on this positive trajectory, we must be frank and honest about our disagreements. We must address them firmly and decisively as we pursue the urgent work we have to do together. Doing so will make our relationship more stable and more resilient.

The United States and China have made important strides over the past year in developing mechanisms through which to address and manage our differences, notably the May launch of the Strategic Security Dialogue, which brought together for the first time senior civilian and military leaders from the United States and China to discuss some of the most sensitive issues in our relationship. We have also increased the frequency and intensity of high-level engagement between our two governments, providing greater opportunities for honest discussion of our differences and reducing the chances for miscalculation. At the same time, we have expanded the areas in which we are cooperating, as evidenced by the development of the U.S.-China Asia- Pacific Consultations and the announcement of several U.S.-China cooperative projects in the region on the margins of the recent ASEAN Regional Forum. But, we have much more to do. I hope that my visit will offer an opportunity to speak openly and directly with China’s leaders and China’s people about our many shared challenges.

For me and President Obama, the bottom line is that as two great powers and global actors in the 21st century, China and the United States face many similar challenge and share many common responsibilities. I am convinced that the more we can act on them together, the more our people and the world will benefit.

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